“Updating a Classic Lakefront Home”: an article written for the Heslin Construction Blog from a guest author- Emmanuel Lao of Steam Showers Inc.
Traditionally, lakefront homes were considered to be summer retreats. At most, you could enjoy them in the shoulder seasons as well – spring and fall. But, more people than ever are choosing to either spend more time at their waterfront properties throughout the entire year or to actually live in them full-time. Apart from the fact that homeowners can enjoy the gorgeous view year round, this trend does require a bit of a re-think about what a lakefront property is all about.
No one gave the interior of these homes much thought. As long as there were enough bedrooms and a place to put a stove and a table, the property was perfect. After all, you’re there to spend time in the great outdoors, not cooped up inside!
Now, however, we tend to see these properties in a different light.
Lakefront homes, even if we choose not to live in them year round, are expected to be so much more. Gone are the pine paneled walls and the tiny bedrooms. We expect the same level of comfort and the same quality materials that we already have in our homes. We want granite counter tops and spacious bedrooms closets. We also want spa-like bathrooms complete with steam showers and ambiance lighting.
With all of these changes, how do you go about updating a classic lakefront home? The first thing to understand is that there’s a lot to consider. You need to think about everything from water quality to waste management to architecture to your own family’s needs.
As daunting as the task may seem, we’ve put together 5 tips to help get you started down the right path.
Determine what you want
- Flip through design magazines and save your favorite photos for inspiration.
- Hire a designer who can help you choose the right layout designs, fabrics, and paint colors that suit your family’s use and preferences.
- Look for materials and colors that fit naturally in with your homes surroundings. Wood, cork, stone, and blues, browns, and greens work well.
- Consider whether you’ll need to build an addition onto the home to accommodate amenities, like an en-suite bathroom or spa bathroom.
- Opt for large windows and sliding glass doors that open out towards the water.
Check your budget
- Speak with your bank manager to determine the best type of loan for your situation. Banks often have different rules governing how much money they’re willing to loan out for a vacation property renovation. Make sure to tell the manager exactly how you plan to use the property. They may also want to know whether the property is winterized and easily accessible by road in all four seasons.
- Draw up a list of questions for the designer and contractor regarding cost estimates. You’ll need to know exactly how much materials and labor will cost.
- Always set aside a contingency amount. It could be 30% of the total cost of the renovation. Hopefully, you won’t need to use it. But, renovations of lakefront homes can run into problems that will end up costing more than you expect. Building on sand or rocks can create (sometimes unforeseeable) difficulties.
Tell us: What part of your lakefront home would you most like to change?
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